Ozarks Life: Getting Sunny Bunny eggs ready for Easter

SWI Industrial Solutions provides dignified employment for people with disabilities.
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:11 AM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - On Bennett Street near Scenic, there’s a non-profit with a wealth of satisfied employees.

The workshop at SWI Industrial Solutions is always busy; but especially busy right now. The Easter Bunny needs these Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs filled.

“Our whole goal is to provide quality and dignified employment for people with disabilities,” SWI general manager, Dave Dunn said.

For the past 14 years, they’ve lined up purple, pink, blue, and yellow eggs, dropped a sweet treat inside, then popped them closed.

“Our goal this year is 13.5 million (eggs),” Dunn said. “We really think we’re gonna reach it.”

Since January first, they’ve already shipped 800,000 Sunny Bunny eggs across the United States.

Friendships at work are almost as important as the work itself.

“Without the workshop,” Dunn said, “there’d be people sitting at home watching television and the quality of life wouldn’t be as much as it is being here.”

SWI was created in 1966 as the Springfield Workshop. Some parents got together and wanted more for their kids. Sixty years ago there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for many adults with disabilities to have a job.

“The first big job putting plastic grapes for decorations on the plastic stems,” Dunn said. “Now look! We do so much more.”

SWI does sub-contracting work for many companies. On this day, employees were also popping gaskets into nozzles and packing hot sauce for distribution.

“Our employees take a lot of pride in their work and it shows,” Dunn said. “That’s why we have these customers, major corporations, we’ve had for over 25 and 30 years.”

And friendships for a lifetime.

“Monday is the happiest day here because they’re back with their friends,” Dunn added. “(They’re) back to work and making a difference. Fridays at least happy because it’s gonna be a couple of days before they’re back with their peers.”

In the last two years, SWI has grown to include facilities in Marshfield and Monett.

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